The theme of this year’s AFCEA WEST 2015 conference, “Lower Budgets and Higher Demands: How Do the Sea Services Strike the Right Balance?,” should come as no surprise to anyone even remotely involved with or aware of the goings-on of the nation’s armed forces and federal government.
In a time of shrinking budgets at all levels of the military, coupled with increasing threats across the globe, much discussion will take place among the nation’s top brass in attendance at WEST 2015 next week on how to find that right balance.
This will be the third time I’ve attended the annual WEST conference. In its 25th year and sponsored by AFCEA and the U.S. Naval Academy, it’s the premier sea services event. While the wants and needs of the nation’s military remain very similar to years past, there’s been a shift of focus to the Asia-Pacific region that makes this WEST event even more important to attendees.
The Asia-Pacific region has surpassed Europe as the world’s second largest naval market and is home to three of the largest economies in the world.
Despite shrinking budgets, fighter fleets, airborne early warning aircraft, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare systems will be acquired or upgraded.
The WEST conference will showcase emerging technologies such as cloud and advances in cybersecurity that will impact all areas of the current and future sea services operations.
Let’s see what the event organizers have on the agenda:
Deputy Secretary of Defense Work
Starting things off at the Tuesday morning keynote will be Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work. Before his Department of Defense appointment last year, he was CEO of the Center for a New American Security. From 2009 to 2013, Work served as the Undersecretary of the Navy.
Force Providers’ Priorities Panel
WEST’s first panel of the week entitled “What are the Force Providers’ Priorities?” features the Marines’ Lt. General David H. Berger, Commanding General of Marine Expeditionary Force; the Navy’s Vice Admiral Michael J. Connor, Commander of Allied Submarine Command; the Navy’s Vice Admiral Kenneth Floyd, Commander of the Third Fleet; the Navy’s Vice Admiral Thomas Rowden, Commander of Naval Surface Forces and Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; and the Navy’s Vice Admiral Troy Shoemaker, Commander of Naval Air Forces and Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Stanger on the State of Security
On Wednesday, CompTIA’s Senior Director of Product Development Dr. James Stanger will discuss major security breaches and the effect these types of attacks have on protecting sensitive data. He’ll cover such topics as the latest attack types, why they keep happening, today’s targets, where data loss occurs, and typical and atypical solutions, including new technologies, end-user security training and certification. If you need continuing education credits for CompTIA’s A+, Network+, Security+ or Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certifications, you’ll want to make sure to put this session on your to-do list.
DON IT Conference
This year the WEST conference will be held in conjunction with the Navy’s Department of Navy (DON) IT Conference. The Navy’s IT budget restrictions already total in the billions, and Department of Navy leaders will be seeking innovative yet careful approaches to decrease IT spending without hindering operational capabilities.
Attendees will also examine pertinent IT topics to achieve mission success as well as leverage strategic opportunities to implement DON institutional reform initiatives via the increased use of data-driven decision-making and effective governance.
During the DON IT Conference, naval personnel can take advantage of IT training fulfilling SECNAVINST 1543.2 Cyberspace/IT continuous learning credits. The conference will also provide the opportunity for reinforcing business transformation initiatives and clarifying newly established policies and processes.
Global Knowledge will be exhibiting during WEST 2015 at Booth 2314 in the San Diego Convention Center. Follow our government-focused Twitter account @GKonGovt and the event hashtag #west15 for updates from the show next week.